This was yet another topsy-turvy year in the NFL. We had changing of the guards in some divisions and we had some old vets continue their dominance at the top. Not to mention for some of the old vets we saw them make history. Take notes youngsters. However we did see some of the young guns get better and some take steps back. We definitely have exciting playoffs to look forward to but that’s for another day. Enough about these random topics lets find out what we really learned this year in the recap of the NFL Regular Season.
Peyton Manning is still well…Peyton Manning.
His 55 regular season touchdowns were a record setting mark. Breaking the previous record of 50 set by his rival Tom Brady. Not to mention he took away Drew Brees passing record of 5,476 eclipsing it by one yard and getting to 5,477. It was a big part to the Denver Broncos setting the record for most points scored in the regular season. Chalk another accomplishment to the many Peyton has in the REGULAR SEASON.
Cowboys still cant get out of their December slump.
The Cowboys again found themselves in a win or go home game in the final week of the regular season. Again they find themselves on the outside looking in for the third year in a row. This time however they did it without Tony Romo.
Chicago again can thank the Cowboys for covering up their December blunder.
Again the Chicago bears fell apart at the end of the season. It seems that every year the Bears start hot. This year 3-0 and last year 7-1 only to see them falter down the stretch and miss the playoffs. Ending this year 2-4 and last year losing five of their last eight. Much like the Cowboys they had a win or go home versus a team on their own field and couldn’t come away with a victory. Suddenly the switch back to Cutler doesn’t look so good does it?
The NFC West is no longer the laughing stock of the NFL
Remember 4 years ago when the NFC West was atrocious? Well that’s not the case anymore. Three teams finished with 10 or more wins. Those teams being the number 1 seed Seattle Seahawks, reigning NFC Champions San Francsico 49ers, and Arizona Cardinals. Not to mention its not like the Rams at 7-9 were anything to laugh about. Its without a doubt the new black and blue division in the NFL.
The Panthers aren’t a team built around Cam Newton anymore.
This team is winning games not because of Cam Newton but more in large part to Luke Kuechly and that loaded defense. Does it help that Cam Newton is there? Yes. But now he doesn’t have to feel the need to shoulder the weight of the team on his back. This team is dangerous right now. Its not a team to take lightly if they are to find themselves in Seattle fighting for the right to represent the NFC.
The defensive coordinators halted the second coming of Jesus on the spread option.
Sure did we see the spread option continue in the NFL this year? Yes. But it wasn’t nearly as effective as it was last year. When you get an entire offseason to prepare for the spread offense it certainly makes its less effective. However teams that had mobile AND accurate quarterbacks still made life miserable for opposing defenses. Those teams being the Seattle Seahawks and the Nick Foles led Philadelphia Eagles. Whereas teams that had quarterbacks that were a bit more inaccurate saw their offenses take steps back. Those teams being Washington, San Francisco and the Michael Vick led Eagles.
Steeler fans still think the NFL has it out for them.
After the last week of the season and all the blown calls in the San Diego Kansas City game last night its only fitting that Steeler nation is cry fowl again. I cant begin to tell you how many status, tweets I saw about this last night. The conversations amongst these fans around the water cooler is definitely going to be about how Roger Goddell has it out for the Steelers. Well you may have a case Steeler fans but maybe next year don’t start out 0-4. Take care of business early and you wont have to count on other things to go your way.
The Houston Texans fans are quick to turn their back.
This team for the past three years has been one of the most successful teams in the AFC. Did they win the Super Bowl or anything? No. But they certainly put a good product out on the field. After a terrible first three games under Matt Shaub the Houston faithful started mocking him. Making sandwiches called the Matt Shaub Burger saying “Pick Six” toppings after all of his pick sixes to start the year. To “top” it off when Matt Shaub went down with a nasty looking ankle injury the crowd cheered that he was down for the count. Shame on you Texans fans. SHAME. ON. YOU.
The Raiders, Browns, Buccaneers, Jaguars, and Bills are still fighting for worst franchises in NFL football.
While the Browns and Raiders have an early lead on the chasers its still the same swan song for fans of these franchises. The Browns and Buccaneers have amassed talented rosters only to see the promise go unfulfilled. Raiders and Jaguars were plagued by sloppy penalties, turnovers and a revolving door at QB. Meanwhile the Bills were decimated by injuries all season long. The question is who will turn it around the quickest? One thing we do know is that these fans aren’t surprised to see their teams picking in the top end of the draft….Its customary for these teams. Its like turkey on Thanksgiving. Couldnt have it any other way.
Black Monday continued in the NFL.
It started late Sunday with the Browns firing Rob Chudzinski after one season. Then came the firing of Greg Schiano of Tampa Bay, Jim Schwartz of Detroit, Mike Shanahan of Washington and Minnesota’s Leslie Frazier. The writing was on the wall for coaches like Schiano and Shanahan from mid season on. However the inconsistency of Minnesota under Leslie Frazier is what did him in even with a playoff trip under his name last year. Then came Jim Schwartz, sitting at 6-3 in a division when the Bears and the Packers were without their starting quarterbacks for the entire second half of the season. Just pencil the Lions in right? Nope they found a way to crap the bed. Losing six of their final seven games. Shocking to say the least.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady led teams are again the teams that sit atop the AFC.
No shocker here the teams that have the bye week in the AFC come from teams that have Tom Brady or Peyton Manning at the helm. It only seems like a collision course for these two at Mile High in three weeks.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the best of the worst.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are the front runners to win the consolation bracket. This team started so poorly only to see themselves finish 8-4 to end the season. If it weren’t for Antonio Brown stepping out by a half inch on the final play against the Dolphins on that wild lateral filled finish in week 15 it would be the Steelers and not the Chargers that would be facing Cincinnati this week. Below you can see just how close they came.
Nick Foles made NFL History.
Nick Foles finished the year with a 27-2 touchdown to interception ratio. Who would have seen that coming from Foles at the beginning of this year? Certainly not me. Foles also added a seven touchdown performance versus the Oakland Raiders tying the NFL record for most TD passes thrown in a game. He sat the entire third quarter or I’m sure he would hold the record.
Chip Kelly added another win for the ex Pac-12 coaches.
Chip Kelly put another notch in the Pac-12 alumni coach belts. He (Oregon) along with Pete Carroll (USC) and Jim Harbaugh (Stanford) made the leap from the college ranks to the pro rank by winning their division in their first year at the helm. All three are in the playoffs this year as well. TAMPA HIRE DAVID SHAW!!!
Rex Ryan is still a great DEFENSIVE coach.
Ok we can all make fun of how bad the Jets are at times. But lets be honest what Rex Ryan was able to accomplish this year was impressive to say the least. This team has absolutely ZERO offensive playmakers and still found a way to win eight games this year. Ill let you take a pick of the litter in terms of Jet playmakers on offense and I would be willing to bet that not only would none of them start on any other NFL team but that only half would even crack the second team offense in other systems. Now some of that can be pinned on Ryan for not addressing this in the draft but what he was able to squeeze out of this roster this year was great. Maybe it was the magic belly rubs?
The Rams won the gamble.
Two years ago the Rams traded away the rights to the number two spot in the NFL Draft to the Washington Redskins so they could draft RGIII. What they received in return were three first round picks and a second rounder. Well now the Rams, thanks to the Washington Redskin debacle this year, earned the number two pick in this years draft. The Rams are already loaded and improving and now it will only get better after they won “the gamble”.
The teams at the top of the draft order this year were one year to early.
Teams that finished at the bottom of the league were a bit premature with their ability to suck the most. This years quarterback draft class is average to say the least, especially if Teddy Bridgewater goes back to school. Sure will Johnney football sell tickets? Yes. But I still don’t buy that he’s a franchise quarterback. I look at him much as I did Vince Young. But next year you have the likes of Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Bryce Petty and potentially Teddy Bridgewater. I pray the Buccaneers are picking number 1 next year. GM’s wont have to squint at all the names on the big board if they’re picking number one next year. It will simply show a big name that even J-boo can read. JAMEIS WINSTON.